There are times when people’s attitude may likely tempt you to change your character. We all have moments when we think that people take us for granted because of how good you are.
There are moments you try to be good to people but at last, you receive betrayal, backbiting, insults, envy and hatred even.
These and other likely factors may push you to change your character. Despite these, let love lead in everything you do. Forgive the past and move forward.
Always be good even in the face of misunderstanding, criticism, rash judgement, etc. This is actually the reason you are a Christian.
Whenever we see opportunities to be good, let us always make use of it. Let our presence be a life changer to people.
In today’s gospel, Jesus honours an invitation to have a meal from a leading member of the Pharisee. In the house of the Pharisees, Jesus meets a man who is suffering from a sickness known as dropsy.
This sickness is a condition of an accumulation of excessive liquid in the body tissues which causes the body to swell. It is one of the signs of liver, heart and kidney diseases. Jesus immediately heals the man. He does this even when the man, does not ask for it.
Jesus and the Pharisees.
The healing of this man happened on a sabbath day when Jesus had gone for a meal to the house of one of the leading Pharisees.
The gospel states that the pharisees began to watch him closely, because in front of him was a man with dropsy. May be they suspect that Jesus may heal the man. The Pharisees know that Jesus is always good.They watch Jesus because it was on Sabbath day, so for the Pharisees, healing this man on A sabbath day is also against the law.
But Jesus asks them ‘Is it against the law ‘to cure a man on the sabbath, or not?’ But they remained silent, so He took the man and cured him and sent him away.
We always know that the Pharisees are always at the forefront whenever it comes to attacking Jesus. There are many instances in the bible where the Pharisees plan to eliminate Jesus.
They are not always in agreement with Him. So one can say that Jesus’ major opponent is the Pharisees. The first point here is that we do not expect Jesus to mingle with people He knows are not in support of Him but He mingles with everyone, even with the Pharisees.
In our own life, we will always like to avoid people we know that always attack and pray for our downfall. So, we expect Jesus to be doing the same. But despite their hatred and opposition, Jesus honours their invitations and even eats with them.
Therefore, Jesus teaches us to be at peace with everyone. Jesus detests sin and not the sinner. He always wants the sinner to change and come to repentance. He wants to associate with all of us. So He does not hate the Pharisees, but rather their ways of life. Hence, He honours every invitation, not because of what we do but because of who we are as the children of God.
Therefore, treat everyone as the child of God he is. Be good always even to those who don’t think good of you.
In the Face of Criticism.
Secondly, In today’s gospel, one wonders how the man who has dropsy finds himself in the house of the Pharisees.
Questions that are begging for answers are; how did he know Jesus is coming for a meal, was he there when Jesus was invited? Did he just come to eat? Did he meet Jesus unexpectedly?
The Pharisees who do not allow people to come to Jesus on the Sabbath day for healing wouldn’t have allowed him to be in the presence of Jesus on a sabbath day, and not to talk of being in the house of a leading Pharisee.
Therefore, the man must be invited to know what Jesus can do on the day of Sabbath. Do not be surprised that this may be a setup.
Three points that also affirm this are, (a) Immediately, Jesus enters the house, the Pharisees begin to watch Him closely, why? (b). It is on the day of sabbath, a day of rest. No work is permitted, so what is the man doing there? And why is it that, it is only one sick person around and hence on the sabbath day?
(c) Finally, is Jesus’ question to the Pharisees before the healing. So, Jesus must have read their minds, as usual, to ask them such a question. Despite this, Jesus did not think twice in doing good. He proceeds in healing the man.
Therefore, Jesus teaches us to be good always even when they plan evil against you. Do not let people’s attitudes change who you are.
You may be tempted to change but do not forget that you are not doing them to be praiseworthy. This is who you are. Therefore, do not stop because of the mistake of one person or the other.
However, people may misunderstand, criticize and plan evil against you, be good always. Even when they take your goodness for granted, always be good. This is what sets you apart.
When you have the Opportunity.
The Pharisees know that Jesus cannot withstand the sight of seeing anyone in a needy condition in His presence and keeps quiet. Hence they decide to bring the man to put Jesus to the test.
Jesus does not withstand the presence of people in need in His presence. He does the same to the widow of Nain in Luke 7:11-17, who He met just along the way. The crowd in Matthew 14:13-21 experienced this. He does the same to the man with a withered hand in Luke 6:6-11 who just attended the synagogue service.
Hence, whenever we have the opportunity to extend a helping hand to anyone, do not think twice. By doing this, Abraham entertained the angels of God (Genesis 18) without knowing.
We may not know what a simple act of kindness can do in our lives. It is always God who rewards every good deed. Always be good even when others do not see how open your heart is.
Jesus’ healing on the sabbath, indicates that Sabbath day does not prohibit good work. It is a pointer that being good should be always and not regulated. Therefore, let nothing stop us from being good to people.
May God have mercy on us and give us the grace to be good. May He forgive our past, in any way we have not done well. Amen.